VOC, methane inventory on the up and up

The UK's official inventory of hydrocarbon emissions looks set to be revised upwards substantially. The first phase of a project by Warren Spring Laboratory (WSL) to compile an accurate inventory has concluded that past data on methane emissions from landfills have been gross underestimates, while releases of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from solvent usage and chemical and oil industry processes are also higher than calculated previously.1

An accurate national inventory of VOC and methane emissions is needed to back up policy developments in two areas of air pollution control.

VOCs contribute to low-level ozone pollution, and ozone is also a greenhouse gas. An international protocol which the UK is expected to ratify will, as a first step, require VOC emissions to be reduced to at least 70% of their 1988 levels by 1999 (ENDS Report 202, pp 40-1).

Methane is a potent gr

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